Diocese makes history with feet-washing ritual

Bishop Joseph Karikkassery of Kottappuram washes the feet ofan elderly nun as part of the Maundy Thursday ceremonies atSt. Michael’s Cathedral Church. —PHOTO: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT  

St. Michael’s Cathedral Church in Kodungalloor, the seat of the Latin Catholic diocese of Kottappuram, was witness to history on Thursday with the inclusion of five women among the 12 whose feet were washed and kissed by Bishop Joseph Karikkassery as part of the Holy Thursday ceremonies.

The decision to include women was taken in response to a call from Pope Francis in January this year to bring about changes in the Maundy Thursday rubrics to make women part of the feet-washing ceremony, central to the Christian themes of charity and service.

Reliving a tradition

The Maundy Thursday ceremonies relive the New Testament account of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples before he was betrayed and taken into custody by Roman soldiers.

While the Oriental Churches in Kerala which are in communion with Rome have decided to take a decision on the Pope’s call later this year, the Latin rite diocese of Kottappuram, along with Kollam went ahead with the decision to include women among the faithful whose feet are washed as a sign of humility exemplified by Jesus in the New Testament accounts.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 7:34:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/diocese-makes-history-with-feetwashing-ritual/article8395434.ece

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